It ain’t great out there, but there are bright spots

It’s pretty easy to be negative these days.

Politically-based poison has filled our social media feeds at a more prolific rate than memes about our spouses or photos of what we had for lunch — and that’s saying a lot. Discussions on race, sexual orientation, guns, immigration, faith, law enforcement, the media, age and personal beliefs are lightning rods for rage-fueled trolls who have nothing but time on their hands to attack others for not feeling the way they’ve been programmed to feel.

It all creates anger. It all creates frustration. It all contributes to a world around us that is more bent on picking sides than solving problems. In fact, it all adds up to 2019 America — a nation where decency no longer has a place, and disdain for fellow man courses through our veins.

It leads to negativity. It can lead to depression. It can lead to a stagnation in our collective growth as we separate ourselves further and further from one another in a constant effort to be “right.”

Of course, that’s big-picture stuff. As a whole, we are a mess, divided by our differences and purposely pitted against each other by those who benefit most from said differences. From the outside looking in, things aren’t good across these fruited plains, and from the inside looking out, the view ain’t all that great, either. 

Until we focus on the small-picture stuff. If we take the time to see each other as people instead of as being on opposite sides, maybe we can get back to the basic tenets of humanity in which we should all be better-versed than we show.

Collier County (Fla.) Sheriff’s Office Financial Crimes Bureau Cpl. Dean Peck apparently took flowers to a family friend who is battling an aggressive form of cancer, according to that office’s Facebook page, via Fox News. 

“He left that day feeling he wanted to do more,” said the post. “Knowing that one of her favorite pasttimes was sitting in her yard to enjoy nature, he mentioned to CCSO Warrants Sgt. John Gogia that he was planning to spruce it up for her.”

According to the story, Gogia immediately wanted to help. 

“He spread the word to friends and co-workers,” explained the Facebook post. “On Saturday, 15 volunteers, nine of whom are CCSO members, converged on her home with a pressure washer and 100 bags of mulch they paid for themselves. Over the course of three and a half hours they turned the yard into a virtual oasis.”

How awesome is that? Need another one? I got you.

Kristen Braconi decided to take her 5-year-old son, Carter, to a skate park in South Brunswick, N.J., to celebrate his birthday, according to a CNN story. Carter, for the record, has a form of autism and ADHD, and was excited to take his scooter to the park.

According to Braconi, a group of older kids saw Carter, and approached him. She said Carter got nervous when they neared, and wanted to leave, according to an article in the New York Post. 

But they immediately started trying to teach Carter to ride a mini skateboard, offered him words of encouragement and helped him back up when he fell. When they found out it was Carter’s birthday, they sang to him, making Carter’s birthday one for the ages. Braconi added that the boys were just being nice to a younger kid, as they didn’t realize Carter had autism.

“They wanted to do that for him and their kindness and inclusion without knowing anything that was going on with him, it was amazing,” she said.

Braconi and Carter, still walking on clouds from his experience with the boys, left the park and got some ice cream and sandwiches for the kids. Still, she wanted to do more.

She shared a video of the boys helping Carter to her Facebook page. The South Brunswick Police Department saw it and shared it on their page, with the following text added:

“LOOKING TO FIND SOME SUPERHEROES — On Tuesday some older kids turned into superheroes right behind police headquarters.”

The boys have since been “found” and celebrated for their actions, and Braconi said she was going to be holding a pizza party with the boys in the next week or so. 

“They made him feel so special,” said Braconi. “After they included him, his whole demeanor changed. ... He seems more confident now and I think more comfortable to be at the park.

It’s not all bad out there. You just have to look at the small picture to find the good.